With millennials now accounting for the biggest part of the workforce, the need to understand them and their drivers is key for any progressive business.
Firstly, lets look at what sets millennials apart from other generations...
What does it means to be a millennial?
In an earlier article, we defined millennials, and explored the myths surrounding their role in the workplace. But as a quick guide in 2024, it is those aged between 28 and 43.
While it would be impossible to try and stereotype an entire generation, there are recurring themes that we see from the millennial culture in the workplace which cannot be ignored.
As Simon Sinek points out in this interesting video (watch here), there are forces beyond the millennial generation’s control which shaped the way they grew up and the traits that stayed with them as they transitioned into the world of work.
As the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology in their formative years, millennials have turned towards the instant hit that social acceptance via online media provides. They are used to the things they want happening fast, and this means that they are more likely to crave approval, to be impatient, and be continually looking for what’s next.
This generation grew up witnessing their parents in secure ‘jobs for life’, and then found themselves in the world of work for the first time around the financial crisis of 2008. As of 2016, Millennials had around 34% less wealth than they would have had if the financial crash had not happened.
Millennials are getting married less, having fewer children and have very low-levels of home-ownership. The latter can be attributed to high house prices, but the marriage and childbirth stats tell another story. Millennials have seen how quickly the economy and job market can decline and how disastrous this can be in terms of raising a family and paying off a mortgage.
A lot of the negative stereotypes that are used to describe millennials have been proven untrue, as we wrote in a previous blog post. Older generations call them lazy and entitled, but despite some level of expectation for things to simply happen for them, they aren't adverse to working hard. The level of this simply comes down to a matter of management.
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Manage your millennials correctly, and you will realise just how much this generation has to offer.
Most likely due to their exposure to a fast-paced and ever-evolving world, millennials are more open to collaborative working, trying new ideas and quickly rejecting those that don’t work. They want to be included in discussions about not only their development, but the development of the company. They want to know how they fit into the bigger picture and how they can make a positive difference, no matter how small.
Managing millennials is not an impossible task. While they are sometimes better known for their less than desirable characteristics (social media obsessions, ‘snowflakes’), they often have more desire to learn and grow. Millennials are not driven by money, but rather a desire to ‘do well’, and are welcoming of honest and open conversations in the workplace.
When managed effectively, all of these can be great positives for your organisation.
The impact of Millennials on Modern day Company Culture
Company culture was a buzzword that has developed into invaluable workplace practice. It comprises the ethos, practices, values and support network of a company and the team that they employ.
The world today is vastly different from 30 years ago when baby boomers ruled the workplace. Their generation was one of hierarchy, jobs for life and a ‘live to work’ mentality. It was quite common for a school leaver to enter into a company knowing that they would walk through the doors of that organisation every working day of their life until they retired.
But while the UK job market was much less volatile in the past, the company culture of boomer-time has revealed itself to be somewhat problematic. As millennials strive to create a workplace where harassment has no place, transparency is demanded from all, and where every employee is made to feel valued.
Good company culture involves an emphasis on staff well-being, realistic goals to work towards collaboratively, and positivity being encouraged. In short, employees feel valued and respected, which results in them feeling positive about coming to work.
There is data which shows that businesses with better cultures enjoy higher productivity and better results. The University of Warwick’s study highlighted that happier workers are more productive by 12%.
You may also be interested in our blog on tips for recruiting and training millennials here.
At Lucy Walker Recruitment, we have been supporting the growth of organisations across the north of England to build high performing commercial teams through a range of different recruitment solutions and products for over 30 years. To find out more call us on Leeds 0113 367 2880, drop us an email here, or check out some of our client testimonials here.